Despite Alex Ferguson’s declaration of the opposite, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish says that Saturday’s visit of Manchester United is “just another game”, but with United returning to Anfield for the first time since surpassing their host’s haul of 18 titles you get the sense that there is more to this than three points.
It’s a year since John W Henry ended the catastrophic Hicks-Gillett era and Liverpool, with the returning Steven Gerrard who was injured in this fixture last March, will be hoping to show that they are a club on the road back to the top.
Dalglish knows that whatever about Liverpool’s increased strength in the boardroom, their new signings mean that this may be the toughest derby in some time.
“We know what we’re up against and so do they,” Dalglish said, “Nobody will have an easy 90 minutes.”
“United have started the season very well,” he said but that said Ferguson’s men have faltered in games against the better sides away from Old Trafford in recent times and they’ve lost their last three games in front of the Kop.
United have also lost six of their last seven games away to ‘top 4’ rivals but they have been sublime so far this season and are unbeaten in 12, playing some of the finest attacking football of Ferguson’s reign.
Liverpool too are attacking force worth mentioning and it will be interesting to see how Gerrard can fit into the rhythm that Dalglish’s front men have found.
After scoring against Everton Andy Carroll could fully silence any doubters as his presence in the air will be vital, especially if Nemanja Vidic remains on the sidelines with Johnny Evans deputising.
Vidic has not appeared since the opening fixture but played the full game in Serbia’s loss to Slovenia on Tuesday night.
Much of the focus in the build up will be on the men in the dugout but with both sides at almost full strength, and packed with such attacking talents, this could be another in a long line of fiercely exciting derbies.
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